Teladoc drops Texas lawsuit as state adopts new telemedicine regulation

The telehealth giant had been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with Texas since 2011, but state passage of legislation in May to allow first-time patient visits on telehealth platforms changed that.
By Jessica Davis
01:00 PM
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Teladoc drops Texas lawsuit

Teladoc voluntarily dropped its longstanding lawsuit against Texas last week, as new state legislation passed in May will now allow first-time patient visits through telemedicine.

“As we have said throughout this process, Teladoc remains steadfast in our commitment to continue to champion and transform access to high quality healthcare,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“Today we could not be happier with the outcome, and the alignment of the legislators and medical regulators on behalf of the people of Texas,” they added.

On May 27, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the telemedicine laws, which allowed Teladoc to expand its offerings in the state. State medical regulations became effective that support the new legislation on Nov. 26, and Teladoc’s request to dismiss its lawsuit was approved by the courts on Nov. 30.

Teladoc praised the newly passed Texas telemedicine bill, as it established “Texas as a national leader in telemedicine.”

The telehealth giant had been embroiled in a legal battle with the state since 2011, stemming from a letter sent by the Texas Medical Board that claimed Teladoc’s practices violated state laws.

According to a Texas Administrative Code, providers who prescribe controlled substances or any dangerous drugs, must first establish “a proper professional relationship with the patient.” The medical board threatened disciplinary action against providers who used Teladoc’s services.

Teladoc sued the Texas Medical Board, alleging the rule referenced by the medical board shouldn’t be considered, as the letter went beyond pointing out an existing rule -- it included disciplinary actions. A judge ruled in favor of Teladoc.

However, Teladoc filed a separate suit in 2015, after the Texas Medical Board established an emergency medial rule that limited the use of telephones in medicine. The telehealth vendor alleged the rule violated the Texas Administrative Practice Act that states emergency rules are only permitted in case of “imminent peril to the public, health safety or welfare.”

The company just announced record growth of greater than 100 percent in the hospital and health system market. Teladoc now supports more than 200 hospitals -- doubled in the last year.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

Topics: 
Telehealth